More Security Needed? Cops May Be Coming to Fresno Middle School Campuses
Two school boards in Fresno could amend contracts this month with the Fresno Police Department to add police officers on middle school campuses as school resource officers.
For Fresno Unified, the proposed $1,017,761 contract addendum would restore officers who have been absent from middle school campuses since the last contract lapsed.
For Central Unified, a proposed $333,510 contract addendum would add school resource officers at middle school campuses for the first time.
The contract proposals are in line with Mayor Jerry Dyer’s budget proposal to expand the police force to add officers for school security and comes after numerous reports from parents and teachers about violent incidents on campuses in the city.
Despite calls among some community groups to remove police from Fresno Unified campuses that intensified after Minneapolis police killed George Floyd in May 2020, the district maintained its agreement to employ 11 school resource officers on the seven comprehensive high school campuses and four alternative high school school campuses. The district also pays for a supervising sergeant. The $1,862,495 annual agreement was signed in 2021 and continues through 2024.
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Officers at Five Middle Schools
Under the new agreement, Fresno Police would provide five officers to be school resource officers on middle school campuses at the start of the 2022-23 school year. The number would grow as the department expands staffing. The plan is to have officers, supervised by a sergeant, on all middle school campuses by the start of the 2023-24 school year.
The contract will be up for a vote at Wednesday’s Fresno Unified board meeting.
The school resource officers’ responsibilities would include apprehending students armed with a weapon, breaking up large fights or fights with injuries, investigating credible threats on social media, and investigating serious crimes such as robbery, burglary, sexual assault, and drug sales.
The officers would not be responsible for breaking up mutual fights between students, investigating minor thefts, possession of alcohol or marijuana, dress code violations, or apprehending parents who cause a disturbance at school unless there is a documented restraining order or the parent is on probation or court-ordered parole.
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Central Considers Adding Middle School Officers
Meanwhile, Central Unified’s School Board will review as an information item at Tuesday’s meeting an amendment to the school resource officer contract. The addendum would add two officers — one at Glacier Point Middle School and another whose time would be divided between El Capital and Rio Vista middle schools — with the potential to have one officer at each middle school in the future.
Fresno Police already provides school resource officers at Central East and Justin Garza high schools and the Pershing/Pathway Campus. The district also covers 10% of the salary of a supervising sergeant under the existing contract.
The contract addendum, which the board may vote on at the June 28 meeting, would total $333,510 in salaries and benefits, vehicles, and administrative costs yearly. Combined with the existing contract’s annual costs of $483,849, Central would pay at least $817,359 yearly for school resource officers, vehicles, and supervision.
Central’s contract with Fresno Police was signed in 2021 and expires in 2024.